Rent Mini Camper and travel or Vrbo?

Old Jul 23, 18, 9:29 am
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Rent Mini Camper and travel or Vrbo?

We have about a week in a half to 2 weeks in January. Would you be better renting one of the many motor homes and seeing the country that way or Doing Vrbo and renting a car to see the country? Starting in AKL traveling down to Queenstown. Thanks for all and any advice!
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Old Jul 23, 18, 2:03 pm
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Originally Posted by anthonyparkersd View Post
We have about a week in a half to 2 weeks in January. Would you be better renting one of the many motor homes and seeing the country that way or Doing Vrbo and renting a car to see the country? Starting in AKL traveling down to Queenstown. Thanks for all and any advice!
January is a peak time for travel. Many people from NZ & Australia are on summer holiday. Schools & universities are on vacation. The new academic year starts at the end of Jan/start of Feb.

Most rental car companies do not allow cars across Cook Strait ferries. You drop off at Wellington & pick up a new car in Picton.
Unsure about campers across the Cook Strait, but the ferry fee would be high & at that time of year reservations recommended.
More people drive rentals north to south so there is always a surplus of cars/camper at southern depots. Will likely have one way fees.

In 10 to 14 days you are not going to see much, other than out of a windscreen, if you go the North Island & South Island. It takes more time to travel between destinations than you first think. Far better to spend the short time you have in 1 island. You will not do much on the day of arrival and day of departure, so you really have 8 to 12 useful days.

There are many threads here on FT on spending time in NZ

OP other post:--->Cathay Pacific (CX) Award Redemption, Booking and Availability 2017 and Later
CX fly into CHC
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Old Jul 24, 18, 5:20 pm
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It depends on how comfortable you are driving. NZ roads, even what look like major highways on a map, can be narrow, hilly, and twisty. Some might not enjoy it in a large vehicle, and it will be slower in a motor home than a car. It is tiring to drive in NZ, even though it is beautiful. It is not like driving on major highways in the USA/Europe or even Australia.

I expect a motor home (caravan) will be expensive to rent one-way (especially in high season), and expensive to cross on the ferry with. That would need to factor into your plans. Of course, VRBO in high season will be expensive too. Book your accommodation well in advance, NZ sells out completely in some cases in January.

I don't think 10 days is enough to do all that driving to be honest. It would be exhausting. I enjoy driving and am very comfortable driving on the left... but I would never try this in 10 days. If you had a full 14 days, it might be manageable. But still not a good use of your time in NZ. I understand the desire to 'see' all of NZ by driving from top to bottom, but in the time you have, you can't even see the interesting routes (like the west coast of the south island) because you simply wouldn't have time.

Someone recently suggested a road trip from Christchurch to Queenstown via Arthur's pass and the west coast. That would be about 10 hours and from the bits I've seen, a glorious drive. My suggestion would be to tour around AKL and the north island for 2-3 days, then fly to CHC and take this drive to Queenstown, giving yourself 5-6 days to do the drive. Spend the balance around Queenstown.

Last edited by CPMaverick; Jul 24, 18 at 5:25 pm
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Old Jul 24, 18, 5:37 pm
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Originally Posted by CPMaverick View Post
Book your accommodation well in advance, NZ sells out completely in some cases in January.
<snip>
Someone recently suggested a road trip from Christchurch to Queenstown via Arthur's pass and the west coast. That would be about 10 hours and from the bits I've seen, a glorious drive. My suggestion would be to tour around AKL and the north island for 2-3 days, then fly to CHC and take this drive to Queenstown, giving yourself 5-6 days to do the drive. Spend the balance around Queenstown.
From the OP's post in another thread is flying into NZ first week of Jan

Christchurch to Arthurs Pass to Haast to Queenstown is a solid 10hrs drive (730km - 450 miles), if you do not stop. Better to do over 2 or 3 days
Link---> https://goo.gl/maps/BXAHtNS4fa32

The Coromandel (near Auckland), Queenstown and the Haast will be very very busy. Accommodation or legal parking for camper van will be hard. Just parking a camper van anywhere (=freedom camping) is frowned up-illegal in many localities.

Some people from NZ/Aust will go back to work on Monday 7 Jan. More on Monday 14 Jan & others 21 Jan. A lot of commercial business's will be closed until 14 Jan. Touristy type places will be open.
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Old Jul 24, 18, 5:50 pm
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All of NZ will be nearly fully booked in early Jan. All accommodation should be booked ASAP, and the trip may well be dictated by availability.

Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
Christchurch to Arthurs Pass to Haast to Queenstown is a solid 10hrs drive (730km - 450 miles), if you do not stop. Better to do over 2 or 3 days
Link---> https://goo.gl/maps/BXAHtNS4fa32
Better to do in 2-3 days rather than the 5-6 I suggested? I think 2-3 days is not enough. You can drive it in that time, but there is so much to stop and see.
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Old Jul 25, 18, 6:01 pm
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What towns would you recommend staying at along that trip?

Again, All of this is extremely helpful so thank you all!
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Old Jul 25, 18, 7:37 pm
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Originally Posted by anthonyparkersd View Post
What towns would you recommend staying at along that trip?
That depends on where you are going & how (car or camper). Google is your friend.
As posts above the first week of January is one of the busiest time for travel in NZ. Or the busiest time.
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Old Jul 25, 18, 8:54 pm
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Originally Posted by anthonyparkersd View Post
What towns would you recommend staying at along that trip?

Again, All of this is extremely helpful so thank you all!
The west coast trip of the south island I assume you mean?

I haven't done the northern bit (Arthur's pass). But for the rest, Frans Josef Glacier is a nice spot to stop, and you should try to arrange a heli tour to hike the glacier if you can (it is very weather dependent though). If you can't take the heli, you can do some nice hikes. I would definitely stay in Haast, it's the best option to actually be on the west coast. Wanaka is a nice place to stay as well, it's only 1 hour from Queenstown but generally cheaper accom with a similar feel. A stop there for a night and an afternoon before your final destination would make for a laid-back finish to a long drive.
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